The Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department (VF&WD) and
Vermont Electric Cooperative (VEC) have partnered to provide
nesting platforms for osprey in Vermont. The team recently created
two new nesting platforms for the birds at the Eagle Point Wildlife
Management Area in Derby, Vt.
Osprey are large, fish-eating raptors that were once nearly
extinct in Vermont due to loss of nesting habitat, declines in fish
populations, and the effects of the pesticide DDT. Following a
nationwide ban of DDT in the 1970's, osprey have made a dramatic
recovery. They were removed from Vermont's threatened and
endangered species list in 2005.
Osprey prefer to nest on standing dead trees, but many
landowners remove these trees. The birds frequently turn to utility
poles as an alternative nesting site, often with negative
consequences, according to Jeffery Wright, Chief Operating Officer
"One of our biggest fears was that osprey would roost or nest on
our utility poles, which can damage the poles and harm the osprey,"
said Wright. "After a nest caught on fire on one of our poles, we
knew we had to start making some changes."
VEC began collaborating with Fish & Wildlife in 2008 to
create osprey nesting platforms throughout northern
Vermont. The platforms are placed on the top of a telephone
pole near open water. Osprey frequently use the platforms to
build nests and fledge their young.
"What began as a strategy aimed at mitigating accidents has
turned into a rewarding conservation effort," said Wright. "Our
line workers spend a lot of time in the outdoors and have a close
connection to the land and to wildlife. This is a great way for our
utility to give back to the environment and is something we can all
be proud of."
Wright added that he has a picture of a nesting platform from
Sandbar WMA behind his desk at his office.
"This is truly a collaborative effort," said Paul Hamelin,
habitat biologist for Vermont Fish & Wildlife. "Partnerships
like these really strengthen our conservation efforts on our
wildlife management areas."
Photo by Paul Hamelin